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AT&T ACQUISITION OF TCI NOT LIKELY TO IMPACT LIBERTY MEDIA
Published June 24, 1998
AT&T announced this morning "it is buying cable giant TCI in a stock deal worth $48 billion," according to ABC's Asha Blake on "Good Morning America." Blake: "What's in it for AT&T? The ability to bring local phone service and Internet access to 40 million TCI customers" ("Good Morning America," ABC, 6/24). In DC, Farhi & Mills report that the agreement merges "the nation's largest long-distance phone company and its second-largest cable TV concern." The deal will offer "one-stop shopping to consumers for virtually all electronic services: long-distance and cellular phone calls, cable TV and high-speed Internet access." Farhi & Mills add that "some in Congress already are expressing concern about the deal" (Farhi & Mills, WASHINGTON POST, 6/24). SPORTS INTEREST: TCI jointly owns Fox/Liberty Networks, which includes 22 RSNs reaching about 60 million homes, in a partnership with News Corp. TCI also owns a portion of MSG, the Knicks and NHL Rangers. DAILY VARIETY's Martin Peers calls the deal "highly complicated," but reports that it "only covers the cable systems" and excludes TCI's Liberty programming arm and the TCI Ventures investment arm. TCI Chair John Malone will reportedly retain control of Liberty Media, "an important point for Hollywood players like USA Networks Chair Barry Diller and News Corp. Chair Rupert Murdoch, "who are in business with Malone through Liberty" (DAILY VARIETY, 6/24). USA TODAY's Rosenbush, Maney & Lieberman report that AT&T is "expected to spin off" Liberty Media and that Malone is "expected to leave the AT&T-TCI fold and run Liberty and TCI Ventures" (USA TODAY, 6/24). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Leslie Cauley reports that "local business appears to be one of the most attractive angles for AT&T," although it will "maintain an alliance" with TCI's programming arm (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/24).